ReConnect Funding to Connect 100 Rural Households to High-speed Internet e-Connectivity
RAPID CITY, S.D., Sept. 29, 2020 – The Trump Administration today announced that the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is investing $1.7 million to provide broadband service in unserved and underserved rural areas in southwestern South Dakota and eastern Wyoming. This investment is part of the $550 million Congress allocated to the second round of the ReConnect Program.
“The ReConnect Program helps facilitate broadband deployment in areas of rural America that don’t currently have sufficient access to broadband,” said USDA Rural Development South Dakota State Director Julie Gross. “This project will provide high-speed internet e-Connectivity that will assist homeowners with gaining access to global markets, remote learning for school children, and opportunities for remote business operations. Under the leadership of President Trump and Agriculture Secretary Perdue, USDA has been working tirelessly to be a strong partner to rural South Dakota in building stronger and healthier communities, because we know when rural America thrives, all of America thrives.”
Wally Wolski, USDA Rural Development Wyoming State Director, added, “This broadband project will cross the South Dakota border into rural eastern Wyoming to reach some of our most rural residents. Expanding access to this essential service will be most welcome by the area’s small communities.”
Golden West Telecommunications Cooperative, Inc. will use a $1.7 million grant to deploy a fiber-to-the-premises network to connect 218 people, five businesses, 65 farms and one essential community facility to high-speed broadband internet in Fall River and Custer counties in South Dakota and Niobrara and Weston counties in Wyoming.
In March 2018, Congress provided $600 million to USDA to expand broadband infrastructure and services in rural America. On Dec. 13, 2018, Secretary Perdue announced the rules of the program, called “ReConnect,” including how the loans and grants will be awarded to help build broadband infrastructure in rural America.
On April 20, 2020, USDA announced the Department has received 172 applications for $1.57 billion in Round Two of the ReConnect Program. The second round will enable USDA to implement innovative new solutions to rural connectivity by leveraging financial options with our partners and continuing the success of the first round of funding. The application window for Round Two closed on April 15.
In Round One of the ReConnect Program, USDA invested $698 million to bring high-speed broadband e-Connectivity to approximately 167,000 households, 17,000 rural small businesses and farms, and more than 500 health care centers, educational facilities and critical community facilities located in 33 states. To learn more about individual investments, read USDA’s Broadband ReConnect Program report (PDF, 4 MB).
USDA received 11 Round Two ReConnect Program applications that are eligible for the $100 million Congress allocated to the program through the CARES Act.
To learn more about ReConnect Program eligibility, technical assistance and recent announcements,
USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities and create jobs in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community facilities such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov.
USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender.